What is dye sublimation and why do we use it?
Dye Sublimation (dye-sub) printing is a process whereby full colour images, text and other graphics can be transferred onto items such as mugs, jewellery, dog tags, bags, slate and even clothing. The process relies on a specialised ink, a little like inkjet inks in a way, that is unique in its ability to convert from a solid to a gas without going through a liquid form (the sublimation part of the name). The conversion is initiated by heat and controlled with pressure and time. The high temperature (often at or around 200 degrees Celcius) – from a heat transfer press – opens the pores of the polymer and allows the gas to enter any polymer fibres as it moves, it will penetrate those fibres, permanently dyeing them. We get the gas to meet the polymer surface by pressing them in one of our heat presses (some of which are specially designed for the product we are dyeing onto.
The products we use are all polymer coated (or in the case of clothing, and some bags, is produced from polymer based materials), and therefore are sublimation ready. The range of items we can use includes things such as ceramic & bone china mugs, photo slates, acrylic photo blocks, aluminium, woods, jewellery, water bottles, bags, clothing and much more.
Because of the process we are not limited to producing 100’s of copies of the same item, in fact we prefer to produce limited runs, or even one-off items and would suggest going elsewhere if you are looking for mass production of printed mugs for example.